I’ll admit, I’m picky. There are dozens of Twitter feeds that provide quick links to breaking news, but none of them do the job the way I want it done. This post outlines what I want.
• I want a discriminating feed that is as picky as me. When North Korea threatens to test a nuclear bomb, I don’t need to see that in my feed. When it actually does test one, like it did yesterday, I do want that in my feed. This sort of finickiness is tricky, but it can be done. It means tracking my Internet searches to employ algorithms to figure out what I click on and what I don’t. I know it can be done because it’s basically what Google does.
What does this mean? It means someone will need to create a service that requires me to log in so that it can track me, or at the very least I’ll need to install something on my computer. For a good breaking news feed, I’ll accept that.
• I don’t want the Twitter feed to drown my stream. I have low tolerance for those who tweet too much. This is my problem and my preference, not a reflection on those who tweet a lot.
What do I mean by too much? Well, here’s a start:
|News organization||# of tweets|
|New York Times||99,324|
We live in a co-dependent news culture. There are folks who can’t survive emotionally if they aren’t reading about tragedies and supposed tragedies occurring around the world. I am not one of those people. I don’t need the distraction, and I can only worry so much about things that aren’t happening near me, my family, and my community.
What does this mean? It means I want to cap the number of tweets this service sends each day to, oh, let’s say 10.
• I want to determine topics that are and are not important to me.
“Shocking video” of a tragedy? I don’t need to see it. It’s not my thing. I don’t want it in my feed. The Pope steps down? Yeah, I’d like that. John Boehner says he won’t back down? No thanks. John Boehner hurls an expletive at another congressman? Yeah, sure, why not. The consumer-satisfaction index rose .00000001% from the previous month last year? Nope. The index rose 2%? Yes. The Sandy Hook shootings? Yes, obviously.
What does this mean? It means someone is going to have to build this:
- A website that I have to register for
- A website that requires me to select a detailed list of topics I care about
- A website that searches news sites to locate links of interest
- A website that then requires me to give access to my computer so it can track what kinds of stories I care about within that topic. This will be a “learned” process that constantly tweaks the kind news the site sends me, which is good, because it means it is evolving as my interests evolve
- A website that then sends me tweets from a personalized feed, like @specializedbreakingnews_Schwartz
- A website that knows to stop sending me tweets once it has reached 10 within a calendar day
I know some code, but I am not a coder. If I were, I would build this site and make a market for it, but for now, it’s little more than a wish.
Find Dave Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.